Expert Music Career Advice For DIY Musicians

3 Surefire Ways to Guarantee Your Fans Open Your Emails

Tips of the Trade

May 28, 2009 07:46 PM

Tony Hollums

Fan BridgeNoah Dinkin, co-Founder of FanBridge, one of the foremost fan relationship management platforms out there and one that’s free for most artists, is back with more wisdom. FanBridge manages tens of millions of fans for artists worldwide, so they’re able to see what works, what doesn’t, and here to share more tips with the Sonicbids community.

1. Make your emails relevant to your audience

When you collect fan information online or at a show, be sure to find out where your fans are based. If the info is from a show, you can pretty much assume the fan lives nearby. If they signup online, then include a place where they can enter their city/state or zip code. Once you have this information, sort your fan list into group, so you only message people about shows and news that is relevant to them. For example, put people who signup at your show in Buffalo in a group called “Buffalo.” Put people who signup at your show in Boston in a group called “Boston.” Then, when you announce new shows, you can message the groups in those areas. This is key because fans don’t really care if you are playing Phoenix and they live in Boston. After a few times of emailing them about every possible show (most of which won’t be near them), they won’t pay as much attention to your emails.

An additional way to make this even more effective is to tell your fans you’re doing this. For example, you could start each email with a short blurb that goes something like this: “Since you probably don’t want to be bombarded with details about every show I/we play all over the world, I’m only sending you news about shows near you! This also means I expect to see your pretty face in person at my/our next gig : )” Fans will appreciate you saving them time, and will likely pay you back by being extra supportive at your next show.

FanBridge Tip: to make it even easier to do this, FanBridge has a feature that lets you target by zip code and radius. You just put in the zip code of the venue, select how many miles wide you would like for a radius, and our system will automatically target your message only to fans within that area.

2. Use a Catchy Subject Line

While it may be generic enough to cover everything you ever want to say, having a subject line like “Band zzz June 2009 Newsletter” is sure to put your fans to sleep. You’re a musician not a huge corporation – be creative! Tempt them with the subject line, give a taste of what’s inside, have fun with it. Look at the emails you get. Which subject lines make you want to rush to open the emails? Riff on those and see if you can come up with a good one for yourself.

FanBridge Tip: We think getting fans to open your emails is so important, that we actually built a tool that lets you easily test two different subject lines on the same email campaign. It runs a test to a small portion of your list, and then uses the winning subject line for the rest of the campaign. I won’t go into the technicalities of it, but do know it’s super easy to use and is free for everyone on FanBridge (it’s called the Subject Optimizer).

3. Run a Contest

What if you rewarded fans for reading your messages? This doesn’t have to be an expensive reward…In fact, it doesn’t even have to cost you anything. What if the 1st person to reply to your message got a signed CD? Or a phone call from you? Or their name on your website/MySpace/Facebook? Why not make it a little more fun and say the 10th person to reply gets the prize? Or maybe you could send people on a scavenger hunt online to find a trivia answer? There are a bunch of ways you can make fans super excited to see your email show up in their inbox. Include a little contest like this in every one of your emails and fans will be begging you to send emails more often.

The one other major piece of getting fans to read your emails is making sure your emails are actually getting to the fans’ inboxes, and not their spam folders. Make sure you use a service like FanBridge that has a very high deliverability rate, and has relationships with all the ISPs to make sure your emails are going to the right place (the inbox!).